Sea to Summit Trail

Squamish

Grunty climb with Howe Sound vistas and a gondola download.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
8.2 km
Ascent
947 m
Descent
105 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
31 m
High Point
878 m
Gradient
17˚
VIEW ON MAP
Sea to Summit Trail Map

Description

The Sea to Summit trail near Squamish makes for a scenic and reasonably challenging day out. Although steep, the opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola in 2014 means you can enjoy the hike up without worrying about destroying your knees on the return trip. Instead, you can reward yourself with a cold beer and sweeping views at the summit lodge, before purchasing a download ticket ($15) to get back down.

Although sometimes compared to the popular Grouse Grind trail in Vancouver (which also has the option of a gondola descent), the Sea to Summit trail is more technical and has a more remote feel. Fixed ropes provide assistance in a couple of tricker sections. Definitely wear good footwear and pick a dry day for this one. Also, ensure you leave enough time to get to the top before the gondola closes. The trail ascends almost 900m from the Sea to Sky highway. Numerous openings in the forest and rocky outcrops provide vistas of Howe Sound. Expect the climb to take between three and five hours.

The Shannon Falls parking lot is a good place to start. You can also start from the main gondola parking, but this is often very busy. Follow the signs for the Chief before branching off onto the Sea to Summit trail. It is often crowded on this lower section, but the crowds should thin out considerably after the turn-off. From here it is well-marked with large green diamonds on the trees. Around halfway, have a break at the beautiful Upper Shannon Falls.

Near the top, once you have emerged from the trees, you have an option of going left or right. Left is the quickest, taking you directly to the gondola building on the Upper Sea to Summit Trail. The right takes you on a slightly longer, but gentler, route along the Shannon Basin Trail.

Visit https://www.seatoskygondola.com/ for up-to-date information on gondola hours and ticket prices.

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area